Beck remembered fondly by D-Backs - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Beck remembered fondly by D-Backs

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Posted: Monday, June 25, 2007 6:37 am | Updated: 6:07 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The Diamondbacks remembered Rod Beck as a consummate professional and teammate, who despite his flowing hair and baleful stare on the mound was a gentle, compassionate man.

“You look at him and think he was a tough guy,” former teammate Augie Ojeda said Sunday.

“He had that Fu Manchu and he looked like an intimidator. He was a teddy bear.”

Beck was found dead at his northeast Phoenix home on Saturday night. He was 38. Police have said a cause of death has not been determined.

“He not only was a teammate but a good friend of mine,” Mark Grace said. “I can’t believe I’m speaking of him in the past tense. I’ll miss him. If he was around, fun was nearby.”

Beck had 51 saves for the Chicago Cubs in 1998, tied for the eighth-highest season total in major league history. He had 48 saves for the San Francisco Giants in 1993.

“The biggest thing was, he had a huge heart,” said D-Backs general partner Matt Williams, who played with Beck from 1991-96.

“Regardless whether he was feeling it at 93-94 (mph) early in his career or in the low 80s later in his career, he always wanted the ball. Those are the guys you want. … It’s shocking. It was too young.”

Bay Area native Eric Byrnes can still mimic Beck’s characteristic arm movement as he took his signs, twisting and wiggling his right arm before going into his delivery.

“His mentality on the mound was one that I would love to play behind. He would come right at guys. ‘Here it is. Try to hit it,’” Byrnes said.

Ojeda and Beck were teammates at Triple-A Iowa for a few months in 2003, after Beck signed a minor league contract to get back in the game. He missed the 2002 season following “Tommy John” elbow ligament-replacement surgery.

“He had this RV in Des Moines. That’s what he traveled in. He parked it behind left field and he would invite us over for barbecues,” Ojeda said.

“A guy who has been in the (majors) 10 years and goes back down, you don’t always see that. On the road he would take us out to dinner and stuff. He was always helping the younger guys out.”

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